This week has been a huge week for members of the black community. They have spoken and many of us have listened, but there are still many dissenters who aren't fully on board.
As a firm believer of the Black Lives Matter movement, it is difficult to ask for the protests to stop but this situation has blown up at exactly the wrong time. The Coronavirus is still at large and countries are trying their best to combat this unrelenting virus. However, this isn't the first mass gathering of people in the United Kingdom.
For weeks, we have seen beaches packed to the masses with people joyfully having some alcohol and forgetting about this whole pandemic. No doubt that some of those complaining about the BLM protests were not too bothered about those other gatherings.
How can you ask black people to sit at home and abide by the social distancing rules with everything that they've seen of late? Those on the beach were ignoring the rules because they were bored. This is something entirely different. The attack on George Floyd was awful but it stood for much more than the literal death of a black man. It was a microcosm of racial injustice, rife throughout the world, that is simply ignored by the majority.
This is something I cannot fully appreciate, being of white ethnicity, but it is something that many white people are becoming more and more aware of. It is also important for white people to speak up about it in order to combat society's festering ignorance. Social media is helping to spread the powerful BLM message. Money is being raised, petitions are being signed and people are actually talking at length about racial injustice.
Obviously, some people are taking advantage. Violent attacks on police officers in London are not going to benefit this movement. Neither will looting. This will add fuel to the fire for those who want to put ethnic minorities in their place. The focus will be on a minority of the minority and, once again, negative hate group propaganda will be formed.
Tommy Robinson is already declaring war on the movement because of certain unlawful actions. He and a small group of people will lap up that hatred. This message will reach a demographic of people who don't have that firsthand education of society's imbalance. People from lower economically developed towns will have their thoughts anchored by secondary sources. There will be large groups of people who haven't been to university and haven't ever left their hometowns. They will be afraid. They won't fully understand and they will stick with what they do know.
Admittedly, defacing a Winston Churchill statue probably wasn't the best idea. The man many have had questionable morals but he is widely viewed as the person who anchored Britain to a victory in World War II. People will not suddenly seek to re-educate themselves on Churchill. Instead, those who were on the fence with the BLM movement will see it as an opportunity to side with the likes of Robinson and Nigel Farage in opposition. They're vandalising a mainstream British icon and, to some people, that is going to refuel anger and hatred.
Of course, the black community will not be seeking to pander to the needs of the white ethnic group. There have been unnecessary hierarchies for centuries and they have had enough. Getting that message across in a non-aggressive manner is tough, especially when many people don't seem to listen. But it's not as simply as good and evil.
It's easy to criticise white people for a lack of understanding on race and minorities but that's not entirely their fault. The finger should be pointed at the people who dictate that mindset, exploiting the thoughts of many who believe they are thinking freely. They're taught that if somebody argues their point then they are probably part of the "loony left" clan. Trying to police language. Trying to shut-down free speech. There are clusters of people who are so deep into that mindset and it's so hard to get them out of it. It's a little bit like The Matrix!
Education is so very important because, if you aren't properly educated about politics, ethics and history, you're very likely to simply be a mouthpiece for a small elite group who like the way things are. The elite become elite based on a strict hierarchical system; they create an ideology to keep that in place.
Why are you not doing as well as others in society? It's the immigrants fault. Why is the NHS struggling? Too many foreigners are taking up ward spaces. It's barbaric but if you're constantly being told these things by media outlets, by friends, and by right-wing activists, it could become your thought pattern. With these ideas firmly in mind, one might forget about society's economic dichotomy.
Some people became convinced that Jeremy Corbyn would win last December's General Election because large swathes of people on Twitter were very much behind him. The fact is, a silent majority voted for the Conservatives. There are 13.7 million Twitter users in the UK and not all of them would tweet regularly. Many will not. The ones that do are probably on the side of the left. So, while social media is very much helping the BLM movement, there will still be a lot of people who are unconvinced.
Nonetheless, this piece isn't about those who haven't opened their eyes yet. It is a piece that is trying to see the world from both sides. The good, the bad and the unknowing. Genuine understanding of the world is a privilege. Not understanding is sad. Some may argue the opposite for those two! But suffering injustices for being a minority can never be truly appreciated unless it has been lived. That is undisputed. White privilege truly is a blessing that many people were not aware existed. Ironically, those who were unaware of white privilege will probably be the same who aren't convinced by BLM!
The UK Government have not called for these protests to be banned. However, if there is a spike in cases, it does seem possible that the Government use these demonstrations as an excuse for a potential rise in the spike. If they did lean on this, it would only be fair for them to touch on the beach gatherings that accumulated thousands of people a few weeks before. However, you wouldn't bet on them doing that!
This movement is an eye-opener for many and absolutely a good thing. Rioting, vandalism and violence aside, the majority of people just want to make a peaceful stance. Nonetheless, the question shouldn't be why are they defacing a statue? The real question: Why are they doing this in the first place?